Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Matthew 11: To Whom the Son Wills


Matthew 11:27Amplified Bible
Classic Edition (AMPC)
 
27 All things have been entrusted and delivered to Me by My Father; and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Son except the Father, and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son deliberately wills to make Him known.

Knowing the heart of Abba is possible as Jesus wills to make Him known. 

Imagine the possibilities...
We would never struggle with skewed self-worth.

Luke 12:6-7
ESV 


Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.


We would never slander or gossip about or judge our brother/sister.

James 4:11-12
ESV

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?



We would do more than merely calling ourselves a "Christian."  We would BE Christians.

James 1:22-27
ESV

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 




Revenge, hatred, murder and mistreatment would cease.
 
Romans 12:17-21
ESV

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.




We would stop living like there are no consequences to our actions.


Galatians 5:16-26
ESV

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,
drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.



Jesus, please reveal the Father's heart to us.  Will us to know His Holy Perfection.  Empower us to live as sons and daughters of the King of the Universe, the Creator of all things, visible and invisible!  We need the Father to be King of our nation.  We require His power to interact with each other equitably and with holy love.  Help us to see and know the Father, in Your Name, Jesus, AMEN!!!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Luke 7: Do You See This Woman?

Luke 7:44

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

44 Then turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, Do you see this woman? When I came into your house, you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.




Jesus was eating with the Pharisee, Simon, who had been mentally questioning Jesus' prophet status because a prophet "would surely know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him" (Luke 7:39) This woman had a past tainted with sinful activities. Simon knew, Jesus knew it.

The difference was the reaction of the two men. Simon was focusing of what he knew of the woman. Jesus was focusing of what He knows of the woman.

Do you see it?

One man's focus was on the past. The other man's focus is on the present.

I have a new understanding of Simon after rereading this Scripture. In Luke 7:40, Simon refers to Jesus as "Teacher" and seems willing to hear what He has to say. This attitude is different than I had imagined. 

In my mind, I had imagined Simon as attempting to find a fault in Jesus. Right now, I see a man who was seeking to understand Jesus' radical behavior. Think about it. In the culture of that time, 



"this was a service which the wife was expected to render her husband(Yer. Ket. v. 30a); according to Rab Huna, it was one of the personal attentions to which her husband was entitled, no matter how many maids she may have had; likewise, according to the Babylonian Talmud (Ket. 61a), besides preparing his drink and bed,the wife had to wash her husband's face and feet"
(Hirsch, Nowack, Schechter 2011)


What's awesome about Jesus attitude is that although He is aware of the woman's past, He doesn't hold it against her. He knows how grateful the woman is for being set free from the torment of wrong choices. Simon doesn't see her gratitude, because he doesn't know the woman's heart. He judges her actions based upon what he knows, her past. Jesus judges the woman's actions upon what He knows, her heart in the present.

I think what we have to learn in this passage is profoundly simple. Don't focus on someone's past like Simon did. Be like Jesus and focus on the present; focus on a person's heart.

We are not Jesus. We can't read another person's heart. The only way we can get to know a person's heart is by building a relationship, which takes a time commitment. If we want to be like Jesus then we need to stop and talk to "the woman" see her in the here and now. Hear her heart, and see the gratitude that flows from it. Don't assume you know what she does or does not do (for the bad or for the good).

Lord, I ask that we would see each other in the Light of Your Presence (the present). Convict us if we are tempted to see each other by their past. We ALL have a past, but if we have submitted ourselves to You, in faith then we can "go (enter) into peace [freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin]" (Luke 7:50).

Jesus, I am filled with gratitude that You have forgiven my past. I thank You that Your Peace fills my soul. I thank You for Your Spirit, which guides my path. I thank You for Your intervention in my life. You are my Perfect Friend and the Lover of my soul. I thank You for loving "the woman" right out of me! In the great and holy Name of Jesus, AMEN!!!



                                References

Hirsch, E. G., Nowack, W., & Schechter, S. (2011). Feet,

     Washing Of. Retrieved July 11, 2016, from

     http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6051-feet-

     washing-of

 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Matthew 8:1-13: I Am Willing as You Believe

Matthew 8:1-13
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

8 When Jesus came down from the mountain, great throngs followed Him.
And behold, a leper came up to Him and, prostrating himself, worshiped Him, saying, Lord, if You are willing, You are able to [a]cleanse me by curing me.
And He reached out His hand and touched him, saying, I am willing; be cleansed [b]by being cured. And instantly his leprosy was cured and cleansed.
And Jesus said to him, See that you tell nothing about this to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, for a testimony [to your healing] and as an evidence to the people.
As Jesus went into Capernaum, a centurion came up to Him, begging Him,
And saying, Lord, my servant boy is lying at the house paralyzed and [c]distressed with intense pains.
And Jesus said to him, I will come and restore him.
But the centurion replied to Him, Lord, I am not worthy or fit to have You come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant boy will be cured.
For I also am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my slave, Do this, and he does it.
10 When Jesus heard him, He marveled and said to those who followed Him [[d]who adhered steadfastly to Him, conforming to His example in living and, if need be, in dying also], I tell you truly, I have not found so much faith as this [e]with anyone, even in Israel.
11 I tell you, many will come from east and west, and will sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,
12 While the sons and heirs of the kingdom will be driven out into the darkness outside, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.
13 Then to the centurion Jesus said, Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed. And the servant boy was restored to health at that very [f]moment.

The Lord is willing to heal, physically, emotionally, relationally.  He speaks a word, and it is done just as we have believed.  It seems to me that we need to focus on believing Him.  

I understand.  I know what you're thinking.   

How do I do that? 

From personal experience, my faith, belief in Him is strengthened as I direct my thoughts towards Him in worship. It's amazing how all of a sudden fear takes flight replaced by bold confidence.  Doubts disintegrate as His glory shines upon meYet earthly responsibilities distract from what is of primary importance.  

Lord, You know my heart.  You know my desires and requests.  You, better than anyone else knows my responsibilities.  Please, show me ways to express my love and soak in Your glory.  In the great name of Jesus, AMEN!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Matthew 7: Keep on Asking, Seeking, and Knocking

Matthew 7:7-8
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)


7 Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.

For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.

The Lord has promised me that 2016 will be filled with "amazing surprises."  The year is not even halfway complete, and I already have been experiencing the promised "amazing surprises."  My older son is being blessed with new career opportunities, my younger son has returned home from living in Kansas since September, my husband is managing hypertension with diet and exercise, and I have been promoted at work to a position, which I did not seek.

All of these "amazing surprises" have been answers to prayers, and all have been the result of asking the Lord to intervene regarding issues touching my heart, seeking God's will regarding various situations, and then knocking reverently and persistently on the "door to the throne room."  

I look forward to the remainder of 2016 with faithful expectation, denying any doubt that attempts to stir anxiety while I await for the fulfillment of longstanding unanswered prayers.  Abba is a good, good Father.  He gives me the desires of my heart and blessings for which I hadn't even imagined asking. 










Thursday, April 21, 2016

Matthew 6: Let It Go




Matthew 6:14-15
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

14 For if you forgive people their trespasses [their [a]reckless and willful sins, [b]leaving them, letting them go, and [c]giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their [d]reckless and willful sins, [e]leaving them, letting them go, and [f]giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.
 
It hurts when someone betrays and mistreats us.  To the core, pain wracks in the deepest place of the heart.  Yet, what does our Father say about it?  He says, to let them go, forgive them.
 
Easy to type, not so easy to accomplish.  In my opinion, a damaged soul is so much worse than a damaged physical body.  But there is healing, and it comes by "letting them go."
 
The popular animated Disney movie, Frozen, contains the song, "Let It Go."  And, although I don't agree with all of the lyrics in it, there is an encouragement in them. 
 
 
 
"It's funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can't get to me at all
It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through"
 
"I'm never going back, the past is in the past"
 
Elsa, the Disney Snow Queen, had been hiding her gifting for years, because she feared the negative reactions of others.  In the movie, she decided to use her gifting, to let it go.   
 
Let me suggest that there are people who are reading this post right now whose gifting was squelched by the wrong reactions of others.  You must forgive those who mistreated and betrayed you, and let it go!
 
Let it (unforgiveness) go!
 
Let it (suppressed gifting) go!
 
Let it (the past) go!
 
Healed souls result when forgiveness is chosen!
 
Let it go, friends.!  Let it go!!!  In the great and awesome Name of Jesus, AMEN!!!
 
 
 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Matthew 5: (be) Attitudes- Counter Culture Christians







Matthew 5:1-12
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

5 Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His disciples came to Him.

2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 Blessed (happy, [a]to be envied, and [b]spiritually prosperous—[c]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

4 Blessed and enviably happy [with a [d]happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!

5 Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, [e]spiritually prosperous—[f]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth!

6 Blessed and fortunate and happy and [g]spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God [h]enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be [i]completely satisfied!

7 Blessed (happy, [j]to be envied, and [k]spiritually prosperous—[l]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!

8 Blessed (happy, [m]enviably fortunate, and [n]spiritually prosperous—possessing the [o]happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!

9 Blessed (enjoying [p]enviable happiness, [q]spiritually prosperous—[r]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and [s] maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!

10 Blessed and happy and [t]enviably fortunate and [u]spiritually prosperous [v](in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

11 Blessed (happy, [w]to be envied, and [x]spiritually prosperous—[y]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions) are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account. 12 Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you.



As Christians, we have heard Jesus' beatitude teaching, but do we pause long enough to consider how to apply them to our lives?  

These attitudes are counter culture in today's American society, and may be seen as a sign of weakness rather than strength.  Society at large shouts, 

"You must promote yourself or you'll never advance."

"Don't feel bad about that sin.  Everybody is doing it.  That is an outdated notion, we have evolved past its restriction."

"Hunger and devote your time towards making your mark.  Righteousness gets in the way of advancement."

"Revenge is sweet."

"Did you know what was said about you?  I'd tell her a thing or two if I'd be you."

"She's a Christian.  She thinks she's too good for us.  She's a "holy roller" an extremist!"

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!  That's all he talks about." 


Friends, if we modify our (be) attitudes to fit into today's society, we forfeit the blessings, which Jesus intended for us.

 
  • The Kingdom of heaven!
  • Comfort!
  • Our inheritance!
  • Righteousness!
  • Mercy! 
  • Seeing God!
  • Sonship!
  • The Kingdom of heaven (again)!
  • Reward! 

Holy Spirit, empower me to be counter culture with an attitude pleasing to Jesus!  AMEN!!! 
 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Luke 6: When the Torrent Burst

 Luke 6:47-49

Amplified Bible 
Classic Edition (AMPC)

47 For everyone who comes to Me and listens to My words [in order to heed their teaching] and does them, I will show you what he is like:

48 He is like a man building a house, who dug and went down deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood arose, the torrent broke against that house and could not shake or move it, because it had been securely built or founded on a rock.

49 But he who merely hears and does not practice doing My words is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation, against which the torrent burst, and immediately it collapsed and fell, and the breaking and ruin of that house was great.




In order to fully appreciate this verse, the image it evokes, we must study the definitions of two words...torrent and burst.


Torrent

: a large amount of water that moves very quickly in one direction
: a large amount of something that is released suddenly 


1 : a tumultuous outpouring : rush
2 : a violent stream of a liquid (as water or lava)
3 : a channel of a mountain stream

 

Burst

1.
a. To come open or fly apart suddenly or violently, especially from internal pressure.
b. To explode.
2. To be or seem to be full to the point of breaking open: The sacks were bursting with grain.
3. To emerge, come forth, or arrive suddenly: burst out of the door.
4. To come apart or seem to come apart because of overwhelming emotion: thought his heart would burst with happiness.
5. To give sudden utterance or expression: burst out laughing; burst into tears.
v.tr.
1. To cause to burst: burst the balloon. See Synonyms at break.
2. To exert strong pressure in order to force (something) open.
3. To separate (a continuous form or printout) into individual sheets.
n.
1. A sudden outbreak or outburst; an explosion.
2. The result of bursting, especially the explosion of a projectile or bomb on impact or in the air.
3.
a. The number of bullets fired from an automatic weapon by one pull of the trigger.
b. A volley of bullets fired from an automatic weapon: The machine gunner fired a quick burst.
4. An abrupt, intense increase; a rush: a burst of speed; fitful bursts of wind.
5. A period of intense activity: "I write in very short bursts—10 or 15 minutes" (Zoe Heller).



Life happens.

There are instances when circumstances "exert strong pressure" against us.  Sometimes stressors feel like "bullets fired from an automatic weapon" violently piercing our heart.  

The tsunami of a serious medical diagnosis precedes "an abrupt, intense increase of "overwhelming emotion: [as though]  his heart would burst."

Unpredictable relationships, unstable employment, an unfaithful spouse, overwhelming debts, uprising unrighteousness.

All these are the "Torrent Burst."

Just how do we stand on a strong foundation during these stormy times?


Friends, being a Christian means that are are Christ followers.  That means we listen to His words and do them.  Then when life happens, we will stand on a strong foundation.

Holy Spirit, fill us to overflowing.  Cause us to hear Your voice clearly and obey You fully!  In the great Name of Jesus, AMEN!!!




Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Sudden Spring Miracles" by Jo Ellen Stevens



 I received this word today from the Elijah List.  It spoke to my heart.  My hope is that you are blessed too.

With Love,
Beautiful Grace

Sudden Spring Miracles, and Lost Things Recovered

The Lord has spoken to me that March is a month of miracles to those who have been waiting. I am believing for mine, and I am expecting it. Many in March will receive what they have been believing for, and this March will be the beginning of an outpouring for hard cases that cannot be healed any other way but by God!

Suddenly, Things that were Gone Forever, Coming Home!

Some will also step out of hard issues that have seemed like a mountain to you, but there are suddenlies coming to many in March. 

I just saw lightning, and the Lord says that, "As the lightning strikes, so shall it be with the healing and recovery of lost things!" 

I believe that the Lord is also saying, "Some of the things that you had lost in the past and you thought that you never would recover will begin to show up!" I heard Him say, "Diamonds that some lost will SUDDENLY show up, and some will say...'Where has that been and how did it get there?'" but I feel the Lord is saying that He is going to return these things to you suddenly!

Lost Loved Ones Coming Home

Lost children will suddenly show up! Lost loved ones are coming back to the Lord! Yes, things lost in seasons past are coming back to you, and by this you will know that there have been angels sent to help you recover all that the enemy has stolen! 

You are going into spring entering a season of the recovery of the years that the locust has eaten! 

There are people in your lives that have literally disappeared, and God says, "There will be those that will return and be discovered alive, for I will bring them home.”

Ministries that Have Been Put on Hold Will Begin to Get the Red Flag to Go Again

"There are people who have had to put their ministry on hold because of family situations and sickness that came to destroy you, but you stood and became the one who was the caretaker in many cases, and now," God said, "you will begin to get new vision for the next season, and you will see why the delay had to take place!" 

He said, "I have been saving you for such a time as this, to go into the harvest with the knowledge you have gained in this pain, and what seemed like delay will only be a display of My glory as you are catapulted into the new thing that I am about to do!

"Don't try and reenact what you did in seasons past, for I will do something brand new, and your capacity to go into this new season has been enlarged through what you have been through in this season! Break into it with no false expectations, but let me give you new ones!

"Yes, get ready, for this is the season of lost things regained, loved ones returned, miracles suddenly coming, and ministries restored! Glory to God!

Joel 2:25-26 (NIV) "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – My great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you..."
Arise, shine!

Jo Ellen Stevens
TCIC Ministries